SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital will offer delegates something very different to the usual virtual event networking options when it hosts a live episode of the Big Betting Balagan Podcast on 11 September.
The podcast is the invention of three betting and gaming industry veterans, Dan Phillips, Lee Richardson and Vigne Kozacek, who set out to create a forum for expert discussion that would be informative, entertaining and, importantly, a little different to the established news outlets.
Between them the three hosts have plenty of experience to draw on. Phillips, for example, started his career as a croupier in Charlie Chester’s Casino in Soho, London and went on to enjoy senior roles with Gala’s online division and Playtech. He now works as a consultant and advisor, often on new market entries and M&A projects.
Richardson and Kozacek have similarly long and varied careers in the gambling industry, and the three have crossed paths on a number of consulting projects in recent years, which explains why they were confident they would gel on the podcast.
Phillips explained: “We felt we worked well together. Lee comes from a strong sports betting background, I’m more gaming and Vigne is more technology and cybersecurity. So we kind of complement each other.”
The trio recorded a preview of this year’s ICE as a pilot episode, which they distributed to family and colleagues for feedback. “No-one came back and said they hated it, which was good,” Phillips deadpanned.
Since that initial foray into the world of podcasting, the BBB team have developed a style that keeps things light, allowing them to be engaging even when the subjects are serious or technical.
“We try to talk about whatever the hot topic is,” said Phillips. “Obviously COVID has taken over quite a lot of those conversations, but we’ve also had specials that have been around ongoing regulation stuff, we’ve had one about AI, a couple around the US from different perspectives, and one on Africa, which was interesting for the people looking at that.”
Perhaps the best example of their ability to transform a dry topic into an entertaining, yet still informative, listen was the Big Compliance Showdown episode.
“We made it into a game show, almost a Have I Got News For You format. We had three compliance specialists and briefed them on ten specific subjects, but didn’t tell them which we were going to use. Then we gave them 30 seconds each to answer a specific question, under pressure with a buzzer,” said Phillips.
“And once they’d all had a go, we calmed things down and talked in more detail. The compliance guys like to talk, so it worked well.”
The format has also evolved to include guests, but not in a standard advertorial business interview style.
“What we try to do is get people who are thought leaders, and rather than asking them about why their company is great, it’s a little more about them. We did one with Neil Goulden, Chairman of Gamesys, and one with Richard Flint, the ex-Sky Betting and Gaming CEO, now a non-exec at Flutter,” he said.
“It was more to understand about their journey through the industry, which people seem to have liked and those two have been our biggest episodes. There’s definitely a balancing act between interesting content and interesting people to make it listenable.”
So what do they have in store for the live episode at SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital?
“This is going to be our first live episode, everything we’ve done before has been recorded and put through a minor edit, but I think it’s going to be great. Between the three of us, we all like to chat, so I’m not worried about dead air,” he joked.
“The broad format will be an introduction to us and the podcast. People always ask ‘what is a Balagan?’ So we’ll talk about that and why the name resonates with people in the industry. It’s a fun story.
“We’ll talk about whatever the hot topics of the day are. Then we’ll invite two or three guests to join us – possibly about what is happening with recruitment in the industry, maybe someone to talk about compliance and regulation. But we don’t want it to be too dry, so depending on the speakers we have, we might add a fun element to the live show.”
The SBC team behind the event will have another reason to pay attention to the podcast, as Phillips added: “A feature of this will be discussing the digital conference format. Everyone is out there doing it and has had good experiences, but also identified some things that can be improved. Whether in the future all these become hybrid events, who knows?”
There will also be plenty of opportunities for audience participation, with a Q&A section of the podcast. Anyone can contact the BBB team on social media with a question in advance of the show, while delegates attending the live session will have the chance to put them on the spot by contributing discussion topics as it goes along.
SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital takes place on 8 – 11 September and features 10 conference tracks about the betting & gaming industry, a 100-booth interactive exhibition, and programme of skills workshops and themed networking roundtables. Delegates can register for their free pass by clicking here.
The live episode of the Big Betting Balagan Podcast will take place on 11 September at 13.50 CEST / 12.50 BST. Delegates can contact the team via the website, on Twitter or Facebook to submit questions.